Australia's Justin Langer refutes idea of 'bouncer war' against England at Headingley
"We're here to win the Test match, not see how many helmets we can hit. You can't get out with a bruise on your arm"
Last Updated: 21/08/19 7:32am
Justin Langer says Australia will not get involved in a 'bouncer war' against England when the teams resume their tussle for the Ashes in the third Test at Headingley.
England debutant Jofra Archer unleashed a fusillade of short, fast deliveries in the drawn second Test at Lord's - felling Steve Smith with a blow on the neck that forced him to retire hurt.
Smith, who has been the tourists' outstanding batsman in the series so far, will also miss the third Test - which starts on Thursday, live on Sky Sports - due to concussion protocols.
However, the Australia coach insists his own pace unit, which includes the likes of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, will not be targeting England's batsmen in response.
"We know what our plans are to beat England," said Langer. "What we're not going to do is get caught up in an emotional battle about who's going to bowl the quickest bouncers.
"We're here to win the Test match, not see how many helmets we can hit. You can't get out with a bruise on your arm.
"We just continue to pick the team we think will win. This is a different ground and I think the wicket will be quite slow, not as fast as some of the wickets we've seen.
"I'm sure the bouncer will still be a part of every bowler's armoury. If it helps us get batsmen out, we'll use it - otherwise we'll keep sticking to the plan."
Langer acknowledged that the loss of Smith - who scored centuries in both innings in the first Test at Edgbaston before making 92 at Lord's - is a setback to Australia as they defend their 1-0 advantage in the series.
However, he feels it effectively cancels out the absence of England's leading Test wicket-taker James Anderson, and stressed that he expects other members of the side to rise to the challenge.
"It's not unlike Anderson - he's arguably their best bowler and we're going to lose arguably our best batter for this Test match," added Langer. "So it's a blow, no doubt about that.
"He felt a bit better yesterday but he's not going to have time to tick off everything he needs to do to be able to play. He loves batting and he wants to play but he understands he's not 100 per cent yet.
"You take your best players out and it always has an impact, so we've got to make sure our other guys step up and fill almost unfillable shoes, because he's the best player in the world.
"We've talked the whole time about a squad mentality, being ready, and I'm confident they'll do that."
Australia are yet to confirm their line-up for Headingley, but Marnus Labuschagne - who replaced Smith as Test cricket's first concussion substitute at Lord's - is most likely to come into the side.